Matthews, Patrick. Dragon Run.
1 March 2013, Scholastic.
E ARC from Netgalley.com; reviewed at Young Adult Books Central.
Al has high hopes for his Testing, but is assigned a zero, the lowest rank in his medeivalish community. A guard helps him escape because of a hat he has borrowed, and tells him that Cullers want to kill not only him, but his entire family. His friend Wisp's father, a former military man involved in a horrible dragon battle, knew that Al would be a zero and warned the family. Al heads to Brighton and teams up with Bird, an "earther", and the two are in the city when it is attacked by rockeaters. They are then accused of stealing and meet Magister Lundi, who is impressed with Al but throws him in jail anyway. He escapes, and ends up in Dockside, where he reconnects with Wisp as well as friend Trillia. Al has discovered that the dragons whom he has been taught protect everyone really are evil and are sucking Potentia out of everyone. Will's zero rating means that he transmits the least amount of power to the dragons; hence he is useless to them, and the Cullers are there to insure that zeroes are wiped out. After escaping Cullers yet again, Al proves invaluable to Magister Lundi in defeating the evil Lord Archover and the dragons.
To check out a lot of background information on the different types of creatures, etc., check out the web site at http://www.dragon-run.com/.
Strengths: There are never enough fantasy books to keep hard core readers happy, and this action packed adventure will be just the ticket for lovers of dragons and medieval adventure. The class rank system is very interesting, especially given how Al's zero works out for him in the end. The best part of this is the action-- Al is a great sword fighter, there are scenes like the rockeater attack and multiple fights with the Cullers, as well as a huge dragon battle.
Weaknesses: There were a lot of things about the world of this book that could have been explained. They made sense eventually, but I would have understood more easily with an up front explanation. Fantasy is really not my thing. Charlotte at Charlotte's Library had a better review.